We are interested in how social dominance relationships and social hierarchies form, how variable social hierarchies are across species and developing statistical methods for better understanding social dynamics and processes within hierarchies.
Social hierarchies are found across animal taxa. We are interested in how universal social processes within social hierarchies are, and what types of variation exist in social hierarchies. Recent projects have included examining how different species establish social hierarchies. Working with Dr Ivan Chase, Stony Brook University, we have shown that groups of mice, cichlid fish and chickens show remarkable similarity in the structural evolution of networks of social hierarchies.Read more.
Mathematical models have demonstrated that winner effects (the increased probability of winning your next fight given you won your previous fight) and loser effects (the increased probability of losing your next fight given you lost your previous fight) can lead to highly linear dominance hierarchies even when individuals do not vary in intrinsic fighting ability. Experimentally, studies in many species have demonstrated winner-loser effects when animals of similar size, who have an experimentally induced differential history of winning or losing, are paired together.Read more.
We are interested in applying statistical methods to the study of aggressive social interactions. In one study, we developed methods for determining from all occurrence behavioral data when pairs of mice resolve their dominant-subordinate relationship.Read more.